Exploring the natural beauty of America's National Parks doesn't mean you have to rough it. Book your next family getaway at a lodge or inn with some of the best service and scenery imaginable.
Mount Hood National Forest
In 1977 the Timberline Lodge was declared a National Historic Landmark, and draws almost two million visitors and guests each year. Built near the top of Oregon's tallest mountain, the lodge offers varied accommodations including romantic fireplace rooms and chalets perfect for groups looking to ski Creek Basin. If you're traveling with a large group, book the very private Silcox Hut hideaway.
The outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs are fantastic for cooling off in the summer and are heated in the winter to soothe sore muscles. A free concert series takes place in the lodge's amphitheater Wednesday evenings during the summer; live bluegrass and traditional folk and blues fill the surrounding sky of the Pacific Northwest.
Grand Canyon Lodge
Grand Canyon National Park
On the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and at an elevation of 8,000 feet, Grand Canyon Lodge, the north side's only lodging, sits on Bright Angel Point. Accommodations here include Frontier cabins, Western cabins and the larger Pioneer cabins in addition to a number of motel rooms within talking distance to the Canyon's rim.
The park's North Rim sees fewer visitors than the popular and more accessible South Rim, therefore the Grand Canyon Lodge offers a reprieve from the masses of photo-snapping tourists. However, the North Rim and the Grand Canyon Lodge are only open between mid-May and mid-October.
The Ahwahnee Hotel
Yosemite National Park
The Ahwahnee Hotel sits where a village of native Miwoks once thrived, basking in the sun and overlooking the landmarks of Yosemite National Park: Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point. This lodge is the height of luxury, a 4-diamond hotel inside California's incomparable Yosemite. Lodging options range from opulent hotel rooms with views of Yosemite Valley to personal cottages that sit among the dogwoods and pines of the hotel grounds.
In the winter, attend the Bracebridge Dinner; celebrated since 1927, it transforms the Ahwahnee dining hall into a 17th-century English manor featuring classic Medieval carols and entertainment. There are several December dates to choose from. This merry feast is also home to the Vinters Holidays, a showcase for local wines.
Old Faithful Inn
Yellowstone National Park
This cozy inn is located within viewing distance of America's most famous geyser, Old Faithful. It's a national landmark and one of the few remaining log hotels in the United States. Be forewarned, at Old Faithfull Inn, the serenity of your natural surroundings is highly respected, and therefore all accommodations are non-smoking and without televisions, radios, air conditioning and internet connection.
Furnace Creek Inn
Death Valley National Park
The 44-room, 4-diamond Furnace Creek Inn is an oasis in the vast desert of Death Valley National Park. In stark contrast to the surrounding barren wilderness, the resort boasts an 18-hole golf course, four restaurants, a cocktail lounge, retail outlets, a spring-fed swimming pool, tennis courts, massage therapy and other lavish amenities. In contrast to the rustic Old Faithful Inn, all rooms here offer air conditioning (you are in a desert!), televisions, movies, gaming systems and internet access.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Exclusive lodging in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Volcano House perches on the edge of the Kilauea Crater, one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It has been welcoming guests for more than 135 years, and its central location is perfect for hiking the steam crater, watching fresh lava flow or relaxing on Hawaii's distinct black-sand beaches. There are six new deluxe rooms in the hotel that offer stunning views of the crater; while they are the most expensive, the cost is worth it if this is your first or only trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Crater Lake Lodge
Crater Lake National Park
The striking beauty of Oregon's Crater Lake National Park is unmatched. The purity of the lake and the surrounding cliffs are must-sees for any lover of the outdoors. The grand Crater Lake Lodge originally opened in 1915, but reopened in 1995 after extensive renovations. While the rooms are comfortable and inviting, you'll wish you could live in the stately dining room, where the only thing as good as the food is the view.
Big Meadows Lodge
Shenandoah National Park
Named for a large grassy meadow nearby, Big Meadows Lodge is comprised of 29 intimate guest rooms, five cabins and six multiroom "suite cabins." Perfect for families, the lodge has a children's playground and free nightly family-friendly entertainment. Explore the green abundance of Shenandoah National Park from this welcoming home base. You can sign up for guided hikes, rock climbing and rappelling expeditions from Big Meadows Lodge.
Many Glacier Hotel
Glacier National Park
Montana's pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains and crystal lakes can best be explored at Glacier National Park. Many Glacier Hotel sits on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake at the base of Mt. Grinnell. It's a Swiss-themed hotel featuring 214 guest rooms, fine dining and a comfortable lounge with nightly entertainment.